Evan Royster looking for a chance

RICHMOND, Va. -- As his teammates continue individual drills, Evan Royster jogs to a side field to rehab his hamstring. It’s not where he wants to be going. And he knows he must impress the coaches to make sure he doesn’t go a separate way once the season begins.

Royster knows he’s in a tough fight to win a roster spot.

“I think people count me out because they haven’t seen me do a whole lot the last couple years,” Royster said. “I don’t feel I was given a chance. It’s tough. People get down on you. I have to keep reminding myself I’m here for a reason and I have a chance to make the team.”

Royster, Penn State's all-time leading rusher, carried 56 times for 328 yards as a rookie in 2011. But he’s carried the ball a combined 25 times for 88 yards the past two, sitting behind the durable, and productive, Alfred Morris. The Redskins used Roy Helu as their third-down back last season, giving Royster even less to do. Indeed, after catching a combined 25 passes his first two years, Royster grabbed one in 2013.

He knows that Morris will start and Helu will again be the third-down back. Royster, though, wants a role.

“Hopefully I can come in and be someone who runs the ball,” he said. “I’m hoping this new staff gives me a chance.

“I think I can catch the ball. I feel I’m a good route runner and I did it a lot in college. As long as I’m given an opportunity… I might not be a 4.3 speed like some of these guys out here but I can get to my routes and run pretty well.”

But the Redskins also have second-year back Chris Thompson and rookie sixth-round pick Lache Seastrunk. Both offer something the Redskins want: speed. And both fit well in a system that will sometimes spread the field yet run the ball.

It’s a tough juggling act: A desire to get healthy combated by the need to show your skills. Royster tweaked his hamstring Friday morning.

“It’s very hard; you have to be very patient,” Royster said. “It’s tough watching people make plays and going out there and being able to impress coaches when you’re not able to do it. Obviously I want to but I understand I need to be healthy before I go out there.”